HSE Community Healthcare East hosted a free, drop in awareness event in Bray Primary Care Centre on Wednesday 19th April to highlight the range of community support services that are available for those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Guests at the event were also treated to a special performance by the Wicklow Parkinson’s Choir.
Parkinson’s Disease is widely considered the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s Disease in Ireland. Martina Queally, Chief Officer, HSE Community Healthcare East comments:
“A diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease can be a very overwhelming and worrying time for patients and those that care for them. We wanted this event to reassure these people that there is a full range of community support out there that can help.”
The idea originated from Fiona Craven, Adult Speech and Language Therapist in North Wicklow, who runs a Parkinson’s Speech Therapy Support Group in Bray Primary Care Centre. Having seen how beneficial this group was to Parkinson’s service users and their carers,Fiona initially approached Dawn Tyner, Community Healthcare Network Manager for North Wicklow, with the idea. Dawn reflects:
“I thought it was a great idea and something new that we haven’t done before. Given that April is International Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, we thought this would be the perfect time to hold our own first-of-its-kind local awareness event. We wanted to give patients and carers the opportunity to speak directly to local support services to help them find out what support is out there and how to access it”.
At the event, representatives from HSE Community Healthcare East (including Speech and Language Therapy, Public Health Nursing, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Psychology and Dietetics) were available to advise attendees about the full range of community healthcare support that is available to those with Parkinson’s Disease. A number of complementary HSE services also shared information on fall prevention and health and wellbeing.
One of the highlights of the event was a performance by the Wicklow Parkinson’s Choir. Speaking about the event, Choir Master Dara MacMahon said:
“Our choir were thrilled to be invited to perform at this event. Group singing is so beneficial for people with Parkinson’s and the event was a wonderful opportunity to share our joy of singing. We also really enjoyed connecting with other members of the Parkinson’s community on the day and hope that they will come and join us – our doors are always open to new members!”
Martina Queally concludes:
“The event was an excellent example of Sláintecare and our Enhanced Community Care Programme in action. It demonstrated how our multi-disciplinary teams in the Community Healthcare Networks work together, alongside our community organisations, to benefit the individual needs of our service users. GPs and Consultants have excellent knowledge of the range of support that is available and are often the first point of contact for referrals to community-based services like these, but I also encourage people to reach out to us directly for advice and support if required”.
For more information about Parkinson’s Disease support in Wicklow email CHN7.Cheast@hse.ie. To find out more about the Wicklow Parkinson’s Choir email. Other community support organisations include https://www.move4parkinsons.com/ and https://www.parkinsons.ie/.